Sydney Salk: The THS Alumna Behind ‘The Sound Booth’


Sydney Salk

Nicole Shaker, Co-Editor-in-Chief

If you’ve been a dedicated Echo reader for some time, you probably remember The Sound Booth (you can check that out under arts and entertainment → music) music blog. Chock-full of songs you’ve probably never heard of, The Sound Booth was conceived and written by Sydney Salk (’18), who currently studies Media Theory at Vassar and still loves music. She gave me the 411 on majoring in Media Studies, advice for current seniors, and some great song recommendations. Here’s everything you need to know:  

Salk studies theoretical concepts related to physical, digital, and other types of content. “My focus is in sound studies where I plan to culminate my studies in examination of communication and culture through podcasts and broadcast,” she said. “Because my major is in a category of multidisciplinary studies, it means that I synthesize my courses from across different academic departments. For example, some of the classes I’m taking this semester include an anthropology seminar on sound, a film class on the American avant-garde, and the history of rock music and culture.” For current seniors who are agonizing over what to study, Salk advises to keep an open mind and start by taking classes in wildly different things, then deciding what you like the best and sticking with it. She said that every school teaches every subject differently, so what you liked in high school may not be the same in college.

Something she likes about Vassar specifically is the close interaction between the students and professors because most classes are small and discussion-based. For those considering Vassar, which is based in Poughkeepsie, New York, that’s one thing to keep in mind. Another is that the campus is a bit isolated, so you might have to create your own culture on weekends. 

When she graduates from Vassar next year, she hopes to work in media production and distribution, specifically in the audio world. “They don’t really teach production at my school, so I’ve been doing it on the side with student groups and remote internships to prepare for the real world post-grad,” she said. “Maybe I’d want to be working somewhere within NPR, because they’ve been on the cutting edge of audio content for decades.” She stressed how important it is that the media outlet she works with can constantly adjust with the times, as the media landscape is always dynamically evolving in unpredictable directions.

As is the world of music. But Sydney has kept up. Right now, she’s listening to the latest Black Dresses album, Peaceful As Hell, a spacey, whirring noise-pop venture that discusses apocalyptic themes and isolation, which will hit close to home for anyone who gives it a listen. She’s also listening to Porridge Radio’s newest album, Every Bad. She said, “Both capture chaotic energies and contradictory emotions in such creative ways.” Her Echo music blogging days may be over, but she can still bless us with some fantastic, obscure recommendations. 

Sydney acknowledged how weird it was to be on the other side of an Echo article, but it just goes to show how some of the seniors reading this could very well find themselves in the same position with the passing of a few years. 

P.S., if you’re curious, she has listened to the latest Fiona Apple phenomenon, and her favorite track is “Cosmonauts.”